Valued employees are happy employees. And when they're happy, they produce. The Donnelly Corp., worldwide maker of auto mirrors, window systems, interior lights and coated glass products, is said to be highly regarded by its 2,300 employees and its customers. The secret, according to Maintenance, a trucking industry newsletter, is Donnelly's constant quest for ways to improve. The firm has a program called IDEAS-short for ``Involved Donnelly Employees Achieve Success.'' Lonnie Holmquist, IDEAS director, suggests regularly asking employees the following questions, which he said are the key to identifying needs and filling them:
1) What made you mad today?
2) What took too long?
3) What was wasted?
4) What was misunderstood?
5) What cost too much?
6) What was just silly?
7) What was too complicated?
8) What was the cause of any complaint?
9) What job took too many people?
10) What job involved too many actions?
The questions are designed to stimulate discussion and find solutions to problems.
Of course, you must be open to change.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. got called on the bargain-priced carpet recently over its slogan, ``Always the low price. Always.''
The giant retailer said that's not misleading. But it has begun changing it after the National Advertising Review Board said the slogan suggested Wal-Mart always had lower prices than its competitors.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart's new slogan: ``Always low prices. Always.''
Is there any hope for tire retailers? Everybody seems to advertise ``the lowest'' tire prices around. How can that be?
Curl up with a good book
Most colleges dream about having alumni like this.
Stan Gault, chairman of Goodyear, and his wife, Flo, have donated $5 million to their alma mater, the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.
The 1948 grads earmarked $3 million for construction of a library-to be named the ``Flo K. Gault Library for Independent Study''-to help seniors working on their required independent study projects.
Last October it was reported that Mr. Gault had exercised some stock options and sold them for $5 million, with plans to donate the proceeds to an institution.
Industry pioneer feted
Calling him an American farm boy who became an industrial giant and helped put this nation on pneumatic tires, the Sales & Marketing Executives International Academy of Achievement recently inducted the late Harvey S. Firestone into its ``Hall of Fame'' in Oklahoma City.
Accepting the honor for his great-grandfather was Timothy Firestone Wray, an aspiring athlete in training for the U.S. rowing team in the 1996 Olympics.
The tire pioneer was recognized for his innovative and aggressive marketing, which, the academy said, changed the nation's attitude toward the practicality of long-distance shipping by truck, and toward the use of rubber tires on tractors and farm implements.
Lethal Weapon too
A motorist awaits trial at the Old Bailey, England's famous court of law, for wiring his Ford Sierra Cosworth to deliver 8,500 volts worth of electric shock to would-be car thieves. Charged with unlawful possession of a weapon is Robert Minshull, of Cambridge. Not the kind of electric vehicle carmakers have in mind!
A clothes call
We've all seen those signs, ``No shirt, no shoes, no service.'' Does your dealership post them? Kind of helps a place maintain a certain decorum and classier clientele.
In Thunder Bay, Wis., a young man stepped into a McDonald's restaurant and asked for a burger. He was wearing shoes. They still refused to take his order.
Problem was, that's all he was wearing.
Yep, police were called to the scene. According to National Public Radio, they were skeptical about his ability to pay for the food-being pocketless and all.
Photo by Robert H. Taylor